So the day dawned, we were off early, kitted out with a Rally Programme and a bunch of detailed maps.
We'd checked out the special stages around Kykkos, Cedar Valley and Mylikouri - but opted for the special stage running from Gerakies to Agios Nikolaos past the famous Venetian Kelefos Bridge.
We've done the bridges before - see my Gallery of pictures of the Venetian Bridges in Cyprus.
The morning was sunny, so with ISO 200 set, 1/2,000th of a second and 8 fps we were off.
Being new to this rallying mullarkey, we started off obeying the 'Don't Stand Here' signs and the few safety officials. Of course being Cyprus, we were the only ones doing so, and quickly became much more adventurous in our position seeking.
It was awesome. Cars passing really fast, really close, the noise deafening and reverberating off the trees and hillsides. I could get into this!
All too soon the cars were through, so off to another place for the same stage later in the afternoon.
Amazingly I ended up driving along the Special Stage to get out!
There was a lot of hanging around waiting for the re-run of the stage, during which time the bright Cypriot sunshine steadily gave way to thickening and lowering clouds.
About an hour before the first car, the first drops of rain fell. It got darker and darker, ISO 200 was not going to cut it when the cars returned.
I've read a lot about the wonderful high ISO performance of the Nikon D700, and it looked like this was going to be its test. Some playing around established that 1,2000th of a second and f4 led to ISO 1,600. The old Nikon D2x would have packed its bags and gone home with that as a prospect.
I zoomed right into the test frames I'd taken, and they looked OK on the back of the camera. I'd got some nice shots in the sunshine in the morning, so if it didn't work out it wasn't the end of the world. Shame, because I'd found a much nicer position for the afternoon than I had in the morning.
The cars came, I shot, all went well. On a hunch I played with some pan shots at ISO 200 if the ISO 1,600 stuff didn't work out. I also for the first time ever tried the 'Continuous' focus mode of the Nikon D700. I've never trusted stuff like that before, always reckoning I can manually focus more accurately than any auto focus system.
By the time the last cars passed it was dusk, and raining steadily. I'd got a long four km to walk back to the car, and then an hour's drive home through what had become totally torential rain.
At home, I opened a beer and downloaded the day's cards.
Predictably, the morning (sunshine) shots were spot on. My focussing technique had also worked.
Amazingly, the afternoon (dull and rain) shots were just as sharp. To say I was gob-smacked is the understatement of the year.
It shouldn't be possible to shoot at ISO 1,600 and get crisp pictures. But that's what the Nikon D700 delivered up.
Incidentally, it's 'Continuous' focus mode was more accurate than me too.
Lots of lessons learned today about the new camera - it really is a cracking bit of kit. Check out my previous post about the Upgrade from Nikon D2x to D700.
And to see the pictures from the day, go to my Gallery of FxPro Cyprus Rally 2009 pictures.